By on December 14, 2020

An alliance of European truck manufacturers have pledged to stop selling vehicles that produce any emissions by 2040 — pushing up its previous target date by a full decade.

The group, which includes Daimler, Scania, Man, Volvo, Daf, Iveco, and Ford, have all signed a pledge to focus on developing hydrogen and battery technologies so that petroleum-derived propulsion can be phased out of the trucking industry.

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2020

The 2021 Chicago Auto Show will be delayed until sometime in the spring of 2021 because of the COVID-19 epidemic that has forced the entire world to pretty much cancel everything. Of course, we didn’t need to tell you that because the pandemic has been the default reason or excuse (depending on the situation) for literally every decision that has taken place in 2020.

Originally scheduled to be held between February 13th and 21st, the event will now be held sometime in the spring. The Chicago Auto Show’s official website has been updated to represent the change but lacks any specifics that might help people actually plan a trip to the venue. It only reads “Spring 2021” before listing the address and ticket prices, requiring some clarification from organizers.

(Read More…)

By on December 7, 2020

When the United States announced it would be offering payroll relief to the countless small businesses it impacted with government shutdowns intended to combat COVID-19 earlier this year, everyone breathed a sigh of relief into their mask. Unfortunately, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) became a confusing bureaucratic mess almost instantly. It wasn’t clear how companies would account for part-time or contracted employees, numerous banks denied help to those with less than stellar financial histories, and the application website repeatedly crashed — which was awful for a service that was designed to accommodate candidates on a first-come-first-serve basis.

There were also numerous provisions that allowed big business to take advantage if their individual locations were small enough and loopholes for companies that weren’t even required to shut down operations. Criticisms understandably began to surface, followed by months of commercials asking concerned citizens to report instances of fraud. One such example came into focus this week after a former sales representative for a Pennsylvania-based dealership group launched a federal lawsuit against their ex-employer alleging that it had violated the False Claims Act in relation to PPP.

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By on November 23, 2020

The United Nation Human Rights Council’s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention issued a report on Monday stating that Carlos Ghosn’s extended detention in Japan was an unacceptable infringement on his rights — adding that the matter would be forwarded to the UN’s rapporteur on torture, cruel and other inhuman or degrading treatment.

While there are undoubtedly larger examples of human rights abuses inside the automotive industry — Volkswagen’s apparent reliance on Chinese slave labor springs to mind — Japan’s bizarre treatment of the former head of the Renault-Nissan alliance garnered plenty of attention. Accused of financial crimes relating to the Japanese automaker he formally chaired and was once praised for saving, Ghosn was subjected to repeated arrests and strict limitations on who he was allowed to contact. Despite his having fled the country in a form befitting of a secret agent, the UN is still claiming his treatment ahead of the repeatedly delayed trial was tantamount to abuse.

(Read More…)

By on November 17, 2020

If you think the political class is interested in what kind of policies citizens would like to see implemented, you’ve clearly never heard of lobbying groups. While we’re stuck at home writing thoughtful letters to congressional interns in the faintest hope that they’ll be dictated to a senator, corporately supported lobbyists are taking legislators out to dinner so they can discuss how best to govern on a single issue. They’re important in determining the trajectory of the nation but many get criticized for placing the needs of the business over that of the individual voter.

Buckle up, because we’re getting another one. On Tuesday, the Zero Emission Transportation Association (ZETA) held its own coming-out party and announced its mission to advocate for “national policies that will enable 100 [percent] electric vehicle sales throughout the light-, medium-, and heavy-duty sectors by 2030.”

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By on November 10, 2020

german flag and reichstag

Germany is eager to see the United States abolish trade barriers implemented by President Donald Trump now that it looks like Joe Biden has won the 2020 election. While that could all be undone by the sudden influx of legal actions taken by the Trump campaign as presumptive evidence of election impropriety streams in, Germany would still like to get the ball rolling on trade with the Democrats.

The nation’s automotive industry is petitioning leadership in the U.S. and European Union to align technical/regulatory standards and minimize the existing trade barriers. The German Association of the Automotive Industry (Verband der Automobilindustrie) or VDA has already endorsed the proposal with the lobby group’s president confirming its position in a recent webcast hosted by the Frankfurt business media club ICFW (Internationale Club Frankfurter Wirtschaftsjournalisten).

(Read More…)

By on November 10, 2020

Unifor members overwhelmingly ratified a new three-year contract with General Motors, effectively ending the union’s 2020 auto bargaining with Detroit automakers. Members backed the contract with 85 percent approval and secured meaningful investments into Canada’s automotive industry, including the $1 billion (USD) investment that saves Oshawa Assembly. It’s an important victory for the union and the Canadian auto workers it represents.

“This contract solidifies and boldly builds on GM’s Canadian footprint, with a $1.3 billion dollar investment that brings 1,700 jobs to Oshawa plus more than $109 million to in-source new transmission work for the Corvette and support continued V8 engine production in St. Catharines,” said Unifor National President Jerry Dias. “Jobs at all three Canadian sites are secure for the life of this agreement, including at the Woodstock Parts Distribution Centre, which will also see upgrades.”

(Read More…)

By on November 5, 2020

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Over the last few years, the brunt of the automotive industry gradually swapped to quarterly sales reporting. This includes Ford Motor Co., which claimed ditching the monthly model helped smooth out variances caused by fleet orders. Most automakers gave similar answers, suggesting quarterly updates would actually paint a more accurate picture of their overall health — likely hoping this would discourage investors from being scared away during a particularly rough month.

But Ford has reportedly had a change of heart and is moving back to monthly updates. While we’re happy to see it bucking the trend, it’s curious to see any automaker doing so while the industry is so vulnerable to anomalies created by government lockdowns.

(Read More…)

By on November 3, 2020

No-Mad/Shutterstock.com

Buckle up kids — it’s Election Day in America, and we’re about to get political.

Before we do, some rules. Don’t follow them, and the merciless banhammer will find you.

(Read More…)

By on October 21, 2020

Politics have corrupted just about everything under the sun over the last few years. Practically everything is political in 2020 and if you have an opinion about that, it had better be the correct one and sanctioned by your preferred party. After all, having an approved take is far more important that an accurate one. But what of the automotive industry? Where do the carmakers fall on the supposedly important spectrum?

Well, we know that the UAW predictably endorsed Joe Biden for president way back in spring. But those heading the companies distributing union members’ paychecks quite literally came to Donald Trump in 2017 to ask that he take it easy on them. Obama-era regulations had made efficiency mandates so strict, that automakers had become convinced they’d be unable to meet them in the years ahead. While Trump’s relationship with the industry often runs hot and cold, he pushed for a fueling rollback that placed federal authorities at odds with California and kicked off a regulatory conflict of epic proportions.

Assuming Biden wins the election, those stringent emissions mandates will undoubtedly come back into play  surrounded on all sides by his climate and environmental justice proposal, which makes a federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years. While automotive exclusives are hesitant to share their regulatory fears with the general public, especially as they attempt to put on the greenest face possible for marketing purposes, there are real concerns that the U.S. could embrace policies similar to Europe. That could force a change of course for a few companies and complicate the overall trajectory for the U.S. market.

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By on October 20, 2020

Toyota Test Drive Track at NYIAS, Image: Twitter by New York International Auto Show

After numerous postponements led up to a cancellation in 2020, the New York International Auto Show (NYIAS) is coming back for 2021  four months later than planned. On Tuesday, organizers announced that the event would be delayed until August to take advantage of planned expansions at the Javits Center providing additional room for vendors and guests.

Scheduling during the summer also gives it the best possible chance of existing for 2021. Many are worried New York City will reenact strict health protocols over the winter that could easily stretch into April, when NYIAS normally takes place. Depending upon how strict those mandates are, any sizable indoor event could be dubbed illegal by city officials.

(Read More…)

By on October 14, 2020

Canada’s preferred choice in unions, Unifor, warned that contract negotiations with Fiat Chrysler Automobiles were progressing slower than anticipated over the weekend. By Wednesday, news of a strike had begun brewing over social media. Local 444 was issuing FCA-WAP bargaining updates on Twitter and Facebook that included marching orders in the event that the day’s discussions didn’t end in a handshake.

“To ensure we are prepared for a strike, or strike coordinators have been working to finalize the details needed in order to begin, if and when necessary,” the union wrote to members. “If a tentative agreement is reached by 11:59pm October 14th, without an extension in place, then Local 444 along with brothers and sisters across the country at all FCA facilities will be on strike. As the talks continue late into the night, any updates will be posted to our social media pages and web page.”

That scenario is looking increasingly likely, especially as Unifor has explained there was little progress to report all afternoon. It also opened this week suggesting contract talks were “not quite where we feel [they] should be with this limited amount of time left on the clock.”

(Read More…)

By on October 12, 2020

The National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA) has decided to go digital to combat the coronavirus pandemic, canceling plans for what would have been an in-person event held at the end of January. Plans now include a virtual, mid-week conference starting on February 9th, which organizers agree will be far better than a bunch of people enjoying themselves at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans over a long weekend.

Truth be told, there wasn’t much of a decision to be made. New Orleans may have decided it’s ready to open up restaurants, retail outlets, and giant shopping centers to the public but trade shows and bars have proven themselves bridge too far. While locals have accused the city of using COVID-19 as an excuse to gentrify certain areas of the city, drunks have a penchant for forgetting social-distancing rules. NADA would have brought in thousands of dealers and vendors, many of whom would be engaged in frequent bouts of close-range talking between beers. That’s to say nothing of the forbidden romantic entanglements (cheating) your author is just going to assume happens.

(Read More…)

By on October 9, 2020

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With so many individuals still working remotely to combat The Dreaded Coronavirus™ from spreading, there have to be thousands of pools on when employees will finally be allowed to return to their cobweb-filled offices. But they have to be getting pretty boring because its hard to imagine anybody confidently putting their money down on late 2021 when this whole thing started in February and the press still thought it wouldn’t be a big deal. The narrative has definitely changed since then and continued social distancing has become a popular solution among businesses, even as state-sanctioned lockdown protocols decline after a few were ruled to be unconstitutional.

On Thursday, Ford decided to keep most of its salaried employees at home until at least June of 2021. That’s eight more months of not going into the office and matches the timetable General Motors issued a few weeks ago.

(Read More…)

By on October 1, 2020

Dennis Williams, the former president of the United Auto Workers, pleaded guilty to embezzling union funds on Wednesday. His copping to the conspiracy charge comes after his successor, Gary Jones, similarly pleaded guilty to misappropriating more than $1.5 million from the UAW in June. They’re joined by numerous co-conspirators that have been caught in a gigantic federal probe hoping to address union corruption and appears to have hit pay dirt.

Appearing by video in the U.S. District Court in Detroit, Williams entered his plea and apologized about the current state of the UAW. “I want to close by apologizing to this court, to my family and to each and every hard-working member paying dues,” he said. “I hope by accepting responsibility for my actions and for my failures, this process might help restore the faith in our union.” (Read More…)

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